Common Name: Woodhouse’s Toad Scientific Name:Anaxyrus woodhousii Family:Bufonidae Locations: Mexico and the United States US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming Size: 5 inches max
The Woodhouse’s Toad is found in the western United States and down barely into Mexico. It is named after Samuel Washington Woodhouse, a physician and naturalist. There are three different sub species of Woodhouse’s Toad that some scientists recognize.
Common Name: Taylor’s Salamander Scientific Name:Ambystoma taylori Family:Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander Family Location: Mexico Size: 2.3 – 4.4 inches
The Taylor’s Salamander is a neotenic salamander, found only in Laguna Alchichica, a crater lack, in Puebla, Mexico. The lake has very high salinity, at levels that would kill any other salamander species, but not the Taylor’s Salamander. It is somehow able to tolerate it. The Taylor’s Salamander faces difficulties in the lake. The water from the lake is being extracted for irrigation and drinking. The levels of the water is decreasing and the quality of the water is decreasing.
Common Name: Cuban Tree Frog Scientific Name: Osteopilus septentrionalis Family:Hylidae – Tree Frog Family Locations: Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba Introduced Locations: Anguilla, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States (Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas), British Virgin Islands, and US Virgin Islands. Size: 3 to 5.5 inches
The Cuban Tree Frog is a large tree frog native to the Caribbean but has been introduced to other areas of the world such as Florida. In Florida, the Cuban Tree Frog has become a problem. Their size allows them to eat other smaller frogs and other native animals. They also can breed year round and it takes only a couple weeks for the tadpoles to reach frog stage. They also can produce skin secretions that can irritate humans.
Common Name: Wyoming Toad, Baxter’s Toad Scientific Name:Anaxyrus baxteri Family:Bufonidae Location: United States – Wyoming Size: 2 inches
The Wyoming Frog is a federally listed endangered species in the US. It is only found in the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming and in captivity. The number of Wyoming Toads started a sharp decline in the 1970s until there was under 50 individuals left. It is believed that Chytrid fungus, a fungal infection that suffocates the toad, maybe the reason behind the decline. Other possible reasons for the decline including habitat destruction, toxic pesticide use, and climate change. Luckily, some toads were brought into captivity to survive and reproduce but because of the fungus still out in its habitat, the toad population hasn’t been able to bounce back. The future of the toad depends on solving the Chytrid fungus crisis.
Common Name: Southern Leopard Frog Scientific Name:Lithobates / Rana sphenocephalus Family:Ranidae Location: United States – Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia Size: 5 inches
The Southern Leopard Frog is named after its large spots on its body. They live near shallow, freshwater habitats such as ponds, lakes, and ditches. In the northern part of their range, breeding takes place during the start of spring .While in the southern part, it can happen any month following rains but there are two generally large breeding events during the fall and winter.
Common Name: Corsican Fire Salamander Scientific Name:Salamandra corsica Family: Salamandridae Location:France Size:12 inches max
The Corsican Fire Salamander is only found on the Corsica island near France. The salamander generally gives live birth to larvae in ponds and streams. There has been observations of the Corsican Fire Salamander giving birth to fully metamorphosed young.
It is a doggy dog world out there and salamanders and newts need ways to protect themselves from doggy dogs. They face threats of being eaten by a variety of different animals from birds, fish, snakes, frogs, raccoons, and even other salamanders. This doesn’t scare salamanders and newts because they have a variety of ways to avoid being eaten.
Poisons and toxins are great way for salamanders and newts to defend themselves against predators. No one wants to eat a salamander or newt if it could make them sick or kill them. Some salamanders try to warn predators that they are poisonous with their bright colors. This is called aposematism.
Eastern Newt Eft photo by Jason Quinn
Red Salamander photo by by Leif Van Laar
Other salamanders mimic the colors of poisonous salamanders to trick predators. The Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) resembles the Eastern Newt eft (Notophthalmus viridescens) and it is thought that this keeps predators from eating the Red Salamander.
Other salamanders and newts arches their back to show off their stomach, which can be brightly colored, when they are threatened. This is called the Unkenreflex.
The Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) can squirt its toxins at any enemies that come near. The Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl) is able to puncture their ribs through their skin to warn off predators.
Besides trying to poison a predator, some salamanders try to camouflage into their habitat to hide from the predators. These salamanders and newts tend to be cryptic colors such as green, brown, black, or brown, making it easy to blend in.
Another amazing way that salamanders can protect themselves is actually dropping their tail. This is called caudal autotomy. They drop their tail and hope that the predator tries to eat it instead of them. Then the salamander regrows their tail but at a cost. The tail stores fats and has a role in locomotion. Also dropping the tail can compromise their immune system. Tail dropping is used as a last resort.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle is the largest living species of turtle in the world, weighing up to 1,500 pounds and over 7 feet long. It is also the only extant species in the family Dermochelyidae. The turtle is named after its unusual leathery shell.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle is in trouble of becoming extinct. Some of the threats to them are plastic and chemical pollution, becoming bycatch of fisherman, over-harvesting of their eggs, and climate change. We need to tackle these issues to secure a future for the turtle.
Common Name: Many Lined Salamander Scientific Name: Stereochilus marginatus Family:Plethodontidae Location: United States – Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia Size: 4.5 inches
The Many Lined Salamander is the only member of the genus Sterochilus. It is found along the coast of southeastern United States in the Atlantic coastal plain. The Many Lined Salamander is more aquatic than most Plethodontid salamanders, they are usually found in swampy streams and pools. They also can lay their eggs in water, and the eggs will hatch into the free swimming larvae stage. It can take the larvae one to two years to fully undergo metamorphosis.
Common Name: Maud Island Frog Scientific Name:Leiopelma pakeka Family:Leiopelmatidae Location: New Zealand Size: 1.8 inches
The Maud Island Frog is an ancient frog found only in New Zealand, on Maud Island and Motuara Island. These frogs have a long lifespan, averaging 33 years. Scientists aren’t even sure that the Maud Island Frog is a distinct species of frog. When the species was orginally discovered, it was thought to be a subspecies of the Hamilton’s Frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni) until researchers looked at the muscle proteins of the frogs and determined that they were different enough to be two different species. However, new genetic tests showed that there isn’t much difference between the two. Who knows if it will stay as a species.